More Info (Fact Sheets)
Alphabetical List
bullet Before Chicks Arrive
bullet After Chicks Arrive
bullet Feed
bullet Beak Trimming
bullet Brooder Setup

First 48 Hours
Chick Vitality



Healthy Bird Management

Before Chicks Arrive

  • Remove old litter. Make sure you clean and disinfect the ceiling, walls and floor of the poultry house. Let the house dry thoroughly before putting down new litter.
  • Clean and disinfect all equipment including feeders, waterers and brooders
  • Repair Windows, doors, ventilators or any part of the brooder house which needs attention. Eliminate drafts. Cover the floor with 3 to 5 inches of dry litter. Use shavings, poultry peat moss, straw, etc. or other material that is readily available, economical and has good moisture absorbency.
  • Use a corrugated cardboard chick guard, 12 inches or 18 inches high, to teach the birds to stay near the brooders, where they belong.
  • Check all the equipment to see that they are working. Operate the brooder [whatever type it is] for 24 hours before the chicks arrive. This will warm and dry the house, and demonstrate to you, the accuracy of brooder control and thermostats. Put out the feed in containers and the waterers a few hours before the chicks arrive and make sure the medication is in the water.

After Chicks Arrive

  • After the chicks arrive in the brooder house, keep the temperature 95 degrees, measured 2 inches above the litter. Maintain this temperature for the first week. Reduce the temperature five degrees each week until 70 degrees Fahrenheit is reached.
  • Watch chicks closely for the first few days and nights to see that they are comfortable. They will crowd under the hover if the are too cold, and away from the hover if they are too warm.
  • If the infra-red heat lamps are used, raise the lamps when chicks appear to be too warm. Normally, lamps should be set 18 inches high the first week, and raised three inches each week.
  • Provide plenty of fresh air for chicks. Do not close house tightly to keep it warm. Chicks need fresh air, and air is used to carry moisture out of the house. The floor will be drier and the chicks healthier, when proper ventilation is provided.
  • Keep litter dry. This is important to prevent coccidiosis and other diseases. Frequent stirring of litter will help keep it dry. Adding some hydrated lime to the litter will also keep it dry.
  • If you are not using infra-red heat lamps, then it could be advisable to use a 15-watt bulb for each 200 square feet of floor area for the first week for lighting. If you are raising replacement chicks, it is advisable to use roosts, when chicks are 4 to 6 weeks of age, to provide each chick with 4 inches of roost space.


  • Keep feed and water before the chicks at all times. Clean waterers frequently and place them on slated or wire platforms, so birds will be kept away from the wet floor.
  • The first three weeks, feed 20% to 23% protein chick starter.
  • After three weeks, change to 16% to 20% protein grower. This can be mash or crumbles.
  • During the growing period, you should have a coccidiostat in the feed.

Beak Trimming

  • Anytime birds are confined, they are subject to cannibalism. When picking breaks out, you should trim the beak of the birds immediately.
  • You can rent a beak trimmer at the hatchery.
  • See Beak Trimming baby chicks

Brooder setup

  • Arrange your brooders, feeders, waterers, chick guard in accordance with the drawing below.

B=Brooder stove with hover
=Feeders are arranged in spoke-like fashion
=Waterers [gallon size]
=Chick guard 18 inches high arranged in 4-6 foot diameter circle around brooder